By Chris Parker
School of the Ozarks has had a consistently strong volleyball program since launching a full varsity schedule in 2013. The Lady Patriots have won at least 19 matches in each season.
“We were fortunate to have a solid group of talented athletes at the beginning of our program who set a good example and were committed to passing down a healthy Patriot Volleyball culture. The tradition of giving your best, playing without ego, and respecting your teammates, opponents, and officials for us is ultimately a consequence of a strong commitment to Christ-like character; a commitment our players, past and present, strive to maintain,” School of the Ozarks coach Charles Warfield said.
School of the Ozarks graduated five seniors including two all-conference selections from last year’s team that finished 22-9-2.
Jessica Barber returns for her senior season after earning second-team all-conference honors last year.
“Jessica is a talented player who has made great strides these past years and produced well for us last season as an outside hitter,” Warfield said. “As a senior, Jessica has the mentality and capacity to help us be more consistent on both sides of the ball, as a dependable hitter and as a plus passer.”
Molly Sparks returns to the varsity lineup as a right side hitter in her senior season.
Past Barber and Sparks, there are a host of players that could step up and have an impact on varsity.
“I expect us to be a really deep and balanced team this year and I look forward to see who steps up and stands out in our fall practices,” Warfield said. “From what I’ve seen from our JV and summer camp play, this a scrappy group coming up that loves to learn and improve.”
Wins won’t be the sole goal for the Lady Patriots this season.
“We try not to focus on a certain number of wins or a particular title, but instead work to develop the kind of character and ability that breeds success. We don’t place any additional expectations on ourselves other than to play our best, improve as much as we can, and represent ourselves well with our thoughts, actions, and attitudes,” Warfield said.
School of the Ozarks opens the regular season on Aug. 30 at home against Spokane.